Did you ever fall off your bike as a little kid and bang your head — or get your “bell rung” playing sports as a teenager?
Maybe you’ve recently been in a car accident.
Each of these scenarios brings with it the risk of concussion. In fact, nearly one in every four Americans reports having had a concussion at some point in their life.
If you’re wondering, “Can chiropractors help with concussions?” we have the answers you’re looking for.
Read on to find out the nitty-gritty about concussions and just what chiropractors can do to help.
Table of Contents
- What is a Concussion?
- Common Causes of Concussions
- Typical Signs That Indicate a Concussion
- Can Chiropractors Diagnose Concussions?
- Can Chiropractors Treat Concussions?
- Should You Seek Out Chiropractic Care For a Concussion?
- How Can a Chiropractor Help With Concussion Recovery?
- 3 Ways to Support Your Post-Concussion Chiropractic Care
- Get On the Road to Recovery With Cascade Spine & Injury Center
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury resulting from trauma to the head or a blow to the body that causes the individual’s head and brain to move back and forth rapidly.
This movement alters the shape of brain tissue and can stretch and damage the cells within the brain, causing metabolic and chemical changes within the brain cells.
While concussions typically are not life-threatening, the effects of a concussion can be life-changing and should be taken seriously.
There are three types of concussions:
- Grade 1: Mild concussion with symptoms lasting less than 15 minutes and no loss of consciousness
- Grade 2: Moderate concussion – symptoms lasting longer than 15 minutes with no loss of consciousness
- Grade 3: Severe concussion – the individual loses consciousness, sometimes for only a few seconds
Common Causes of Concussions
As any sports fan knows, concussions are prevalent among athletes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around 1.6 to 3.38 million concussions happen in the U.S. each year from sports-related injuries.
While concussions are frequently thought of as sports injuries, it isn’t uncommon for concussions to occur under other circumstances.
The cause of a concussion may be:
- A vehicle accident, such as a car wreck or bike accident
- A fall on the playground
- A blow to the head
- A sports injury – particularly common in sports involving body contact and high-speed movement
It’s important to keep in mind that just because you are not an athlete, it doesn’t mean that you are not at risk of suffering from a concussion.
Typical Signs That Indicate a Concussion
The common signs that may indicate a concussion are varied, but may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Change in sleepiness, such as becoming a lot more sleepy than usual
- Ringing in the ears
- A glazed look in the eyes
- Light or noise sensitivity
- Trouble with memory and/or concentration
- Problems with balance
- Delayed responses to questions
- Inappropriate crying or laughing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abnormal forgetfulness or confusion
- Headache or a feeling of pressure within the skull
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty in forming verbal responses
- Problems with taste or smell
- Mood swings
- Personality changes
Even one sign of concussion following a hit to the head or jarring injury should be reported to a medical professional immediately.
Can Chiropractors Diagnose Concussions?
The short answer is yes they can. Chiropractors help with concussions by carefully evaluating symptoms to come to a solid diagnosis.
However, concussions can be difficult to diagnose since some symptoms may not manifest themselves for days — even weeks — after the incident has occurred.
When treating potentially concussed patients, making the proper diagnosis is critical.
At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, we take head injuries seriously.
Upon a patient’s arrival at our office, we:
- Take a thorough patient history
- Give a complete physical examination; and
- Use a variety of assessments to help ensure we arrive at the proper diagnosis
Can Chiropractors Treat Concussions?
Chiropractors don’t treat concussions the same as they would treat spinal injuries, but there are still several ways that chiropractic care can benefit concussed individuals.
They assist patients by:
- Establishing a diagnosis
- Outlining specialized rehabilitation plans
- Making specialist referrals; and
- Providing follow-up care
Should You Seek Out Chiropractic Care For a Concussion?
Even though a chiropractor doesn’t typically treat the concussion specifically, they still offer many services to support recovery and assist with the cognitive issues that usually go hand in hand with concussions.
How Can a Chiropractor Help With Concussion Recovery?
A concussion is an extremely individualized injury, without a clear-cut method for determining full recovery.
But with proper treatment and management, most concussion patients can expect to experience temporary symptoms and anticipate a full recovery.
Chiropractors can help concussed patients along their road of recovery in the following three ways:
Cascade Spine & Injury Center utilizes various rehab techniques to help concussed patients who may be experiencing dizziness or problems with balance — both are very common post-concussion issues.
Based on their findings, the chiropractor will put together a detailed, personalized treatment plan that may involve a variety of rehabilitative treatments, such as:
- Cervical decompression
- Manual manipulation
- Interferential Current
- Myofascial release
- Laser; or
Another way chiropractors can help with concussions is by making referrals to specialists.
Cascade Spine & Injury Center networks with several local specialists to facilitate recovery for our patients. For example:
- Patients who need help with word-finding or reading comprehension may be referred to a speech/language pathologist.
- Individuals who might be struggling with activities related to daily living skills may be referred to an occupational therapist.
- Patients with vision or reading difficulties might be referred to a neuro-optometrist.
Follow-up care is a critical component of recovering from a concussion.
For most concussed patients, imaging isn’t helpful — but for patients with symptoms that linger for three or more months, specialized brain imaging should be done to determine:
- Where in the brain the injury is located
- The extent of the injury; and
- The prognosis for recovery
3 Ways to Support Your Post-Concussion Chiropractic Care
#1: Discontinue Activities That Could Cause Additional Trauma
Preventing additional injury or further stress on a patient’s heart or brain is an essential component of concussion recovery.
Since it is crucial to temporarily stop any activities that could potentially cause additional trauma or overstimulation of the brain, the patient will need to:
- Postpone participating in sports, including practice; and
- Avoid technology such as computers, phones, and video games, to rest their brain
#2: Get Plenty of Rest
Concussed patients need to rest both their bodies and their brains.
Taking the time to rest immediately following your concussion gives you the best opportunity for a speedy recovery. Resting may look like this:
- Taking a day or two off work or school
- Pausing physical activities or sports; and
- Getting plenty of sleep
Avoid situations where you may encounter:
- Bright lights
- Unpredictable situations
- Crowds; or
- Loud noises
But be careful not to overdo it.
A 2014 study revealed that individuals who suffered a concussion are at a greater risk of depression. Too much isolation or boredom may increase feelings of anxiety and depression.
#3: Monitor and Report Any New Symptoms
While most concussions heal on their own without any lasting effects, occasionally, concussions may be part of a more severe injury.
For this reason, it’s important to take note of any …
- Worsening; or
- New symptoms
… and report them as soon as possible to your physician.
Additionally, if you notice any of the following symptoms after a concussion, you will need to seek emergency treatment immediately:
- Difficulty swallowing
- A sudden intense headache
- Numbness or tingling
- Difficulty speaking or forming your thoughts
- Sudden, extreme tiredness
- Loss of consciousness
- Paralysis in any part of the body
- Loss of balance
- Increased heart rate; or
- Double vision
Get On the Road to Concussion Recovery With Cascade Spine & Injury Center
Cascade Spine & Injury Center is a multidisciplinary clinic focusing on treating those who have been injured in everyday situations, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents — such as auto, motorcycle, or bicycle
- Work injuries; and
- Sports injuries
We offer …
- Chiropractic Care
- Massage therapy; and
… all under one roof — to make your road to recovery as convenient as possible.
With our integrative approach, patients quickly see excellent results.
And when indicated, we collaborate with other alternative and medical providers to coordinate care for our patients, including:
- Primary care physicians
- Orthopedic surgeons
- Mental health workers
- Massage therapist; and
- Physical therapists
If you’re seeking chiropractic care following a concussion, Cascade Spine & Injury can help.
We accept a wide variety of insurances, including:
- Auto Insurance/PIP/MedPay
- Worker’s Compensation
- ChiroHealthUSE Discount Program
- Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield
- Premera Blue Cross
- United Healthcare; and
- First Choice Health Network
If you don’t see your insurance on the list, simply give us a call, and we can quickly provide insurance verification.
Don’t have insurance — or maybe your insurance doesn’t cover chiropractic care?
We work with patients to create easy to manage payment plans.
Contact Cascade Spine & Injury Center today to set up your initial consultation.